Lot may have nuts and bolts for a crash

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By: Sarah Sheafer <ssheafer@hilite.org>

She had heard of the stories, but it had never affected her until now. This time she saw it for herself.

When junior Elizabeth Holt started driving, she witnessed a car crash. It was by the parking lot down at the stadium. She had just finished walking up the trail when she saw it, and she said she was shocked.

“It was really kind of messy. One of them came out and the other just hit him like in the back,” Holt said.

This incident wasn’t the only car crash last school year. There were 19 other accidents involving students according to Officer Gene Stilts, who said he sometimes drives down by the stadium parking lot to see that the traffic is running smoothly.

Holt said that the reason why there are car accidents is because it is too crowded. However, Stilts disagreed. “The main reason why we have accidents isn’t really because it’s just crowded. It’s because the students don’t pay attention,” Stilts said.

Senior Omar Bari, who parked at the stadium last year, also said new drivers are more prone to accidents. He said the environment isn’t safe either because someone broke into his car before.

“Once I left one of my windows open, and a student reached in and opened all the doors and was able to clean out my car basically. They threw all my papers on the ground, and I was stupid enough to leave my wallet in the car, and my wallet got taken,” Bari said. “I’m sure if your car is locked, everything will be all right. But you have to take precautions.”

Even though Bari had his car broken into, he still drives to school, but he no longer parks at the stadium.

“One of my friends has an acquaintance who lives near the school, and he offered to let us park on his property. But I had parked by the stadium before this year,” he said. “It was horrible getting out of there because there aren’t many exits and even with a police officer controlling traffic, it’s still a hassle with so many cars exiting at such a small space. So I’m definitely happy I get to park somewhere else this year.”

Although Bari parks close to school and doesn’t have to deal with the long trail walk or the line of cars leaving the parking lot, students such as Holt do not have that option.

Since Holt is a volleyball player and has practice after school, she has to drive to school. However, she said she prefers riding the bus.

“I like riding the bus to school because it’s a lot cheaper for me. It’s also so frustrating to walk up the trail, and there’s lots of traffic. I would drive more if we had parking closer to the school, but we already have a huge parking area, so we don’t really need another parking lot,” Holt said.

Stilts said that building a new parking lot wouldn’t be a solution.

“Students just need to use common sense. Don’t bring anything to school of great value. If you have to, lock it in your trunk,” he said. “Hopefully, the new cameras we’ve added to the parking lot down by the stadium may help prevent these thefts.”

Holt also mentioned the lack of police officers by the stadium after school. “They probably should have more officers because it might help with all the car accidents. Although, I don’t think they can do much about it because there’s so many cars, and it’s a huge parking lot,” she said.

Stilts said he doesn’t think adding more police officers would help. “Students still won’t pay attention. I may have a dozen police cars down there, and there’d still be a car crash,” he said.

Holt said there is an issue with students being late for school. “I know a lot of my friends are late to class because they have to walk up the trail, and there’s lots of traffic,” she said. “Many get to school early just to get a good parking space.”

With about 300 students trying to get out of the parking lot at the same time, Holt said the students can get pretty crazy waiting for their turn to leave.

“It’s just nuts. It makes me really nervous hearing stories about students getting hit or their things stolen,” Holt said. “I just don’t want to get hit, and sometimes with the crowdedness by the stadium, I just wish I could ride the bus.”